SINGAPORE: Zeng Jian made history at the WTT Feeder Doha II on Thursday (Oct 19), winning her first World Table Tennis (WTT) title by defeating Anna Hursey from Wales 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-5).

It was the Singaporean athlete’s crowning victory in the tournament, where she bested South Korea’s Choi Seo-yeon, China’s Gao Yuxin, Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin, and Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi-hua in the earlier rounds. The 26-year-old is currently ranked 64th in the world.

The Singapore Table Tennis Association called Zeng’s win against her opponents “a thrilling journey of skill, perseverance, and determination,” and posted her scores for each round of the tournament. Zeng won against Choi in the round of 32 in straight sets, a feat she repeated against Piccolo in the quarter-finals. Against Gao in the round of 16, the score had been 3-2, while against Huang in the semi-finals, it had been 3-1.

“I didn’t expect to win this tournament because we have been competing quite a bit and I could feel the fatigue setting in. It was tough, but coming back to beat the young Chinese player was a big boost and I was more composed after that,” the athlete is quoted in The Straits Times as saying.

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Earlier this year, Zeng brought home her first South East Asian Games gold, winning against Suthasini Sawettabut, who had been the women’s singles champion in 2015. It was a particularly sweet victory for the athlete, who had made it all the way to the finals in the two previous SEA Games, but had been defeated in every match.

“After so long and so many tries, I finally won a gold medal. From my SEA Games debut last year, I never expected it to be this difficult. I really wanted to win a gold medal and, on the last day of competition this year, I fulfilled my goal,” she said in May.

Her gold medal in Doha is a boost to Zeng’s chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics, to be held from July 26 to Aug 11, 2024. Winning her first World Table Tennis title means an additional 125 points towards this end, and Jeng is determined to make it to the ranks of the top 50 players.

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Born in 1996 in LoudiHunanChina, Zeng registered with the Singapore Table Tennis Association in 2014 and acquired Singaporean nationality in November 2019. At the ITTF World Tour in 2016, she won three Under-21 singles titles. Last year, at the World Team Table Tennis Championships at Chengdu, Zeng racked eight wins in seven days.


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